A technician and a paramedic from Ashbourne who recognised a victim of human trafficking when they found him roaming the streets of Derby have helped to free five people from slavery and jail the man responsible.
Technician Diane Bespalyi and Paramedic Angela Brewell from Ashbourne ambulance station were called out to a patient in Derby city centre who had been found by a passer-by. Diane called the police as she was concerned about the patient's dishevelled state and unsettled demeanour.
Once he was in the care of the police and had access to an interpreter, it quickly became apparent that he was a victim of human trafficking, was living in poor conditions in a house in Derby, and was being paid a pittance for doing jobs such as painting and decorating.
Today, Miroslav Bily appeared at Derby Crown Court where he was sentenced to 45 months in prison - almost four years - for trafficking five victims to the UK from the Czech Republic and arranging or facilitating the travel of another person with a view to exploitation
Thanks to Diane and Angela’s actions and the hard work of Derbyshire Police, each of Bily’s victims have been reunited with their families.
Diane explained that she had a gut feeling when she arrived to treat the patient as he would only repeat the word ‘police’, and so she checked him over and called the police as requested.
She said: “He was quite dishevelled and looked like a lost puppy. My gut was telling me that something wasn’t right.
“I kept telling him it would be okay, and I rang the police.
“When the policewoman arrived I insisted that he wasn’t to be taken to his home address, and when they got an interpreter on the phone at the police station, it came out that he was a victim of human trafficking.
“If he had not been as brave as he was to escape then who knows what would have happened to those other victims.
“You think that modern-day slaves will look a certain way, but he looked completely normal.
“I would urge anyone to listen to their gut and to call the police if you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking.”
Angela added: "It is fantastic that Bily has been sent to prison. Although we couldn't put our finger on what was wrong when we met the patient, I'm really pleased that we stuck to our hunch and contacted the police."
Detective Constable Laura Sanders from Derbyshire Police said: “If it weren’t for that member of the public, and the attending paramedics, who knows what would have happened to this particular victim.
“Their actions helped to safeguard him and from his account, we built up a picture of the operation Bily was running to bring these men in and put them to work for a pittance.”